Chefs from some of the greatest restaurants on earth are joined by gastronomes, celebrities and passionate foodies to share childhood food memories and the recipes that inspired them to experiment in the kitchen... a memory bank which reminds us home cooking can be fun, thrifty, save money and amaze your friends.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Judi Orlick - Food Sylist - New York

This week we spoke with Food Stylist Judi Orlick about one of her earliest food memory. Judi's food styling and recipes can be seen on national brand packaging, TV and the internet, in magazines, catalogues and national print advertising. With 12 years in the culinary field and a prior 12 year career in graphic design, she combines her passion for food with the visual arts. Judi has worked with brand clients from Cuisinart to Ziploc and Editorial clients from Bon Appetit to Mens Health. You may have seen her work on CBS News Early Show or in films such as Zoolander.

"Early food memories for me = Road-trip sandwiches. Growing up, my family went on road trips to see America – lots of them – long ones. This required amazing planning and coordination from my parents and the cooperation of my two brothers and myself. Until we reached our final destination, lunch was always sandwiches.

Usually sometime between 4 and 6am, my brothers helped my dad pack the station wagon with a Tetris-like flair way before the game existed, fitting far more into that car and luggage rack than anyone would think physically possible.

I helped my mom in the motel room du jour making sandwiches for the trip so we didn’t have to stop on the way to our next destination. These sandwiches – fluffy white bread, peanut butter and jelly, sometimes tuna salad, ham and cheese, bologna and cheese (my personal favorite), turkey and cheese (always white American cheese) – some with mustard, lettuce or mayo, some without – were the stuff of adventure and traveling.

My mother was able to produce these sandwiches with precision and speed. I was proud when asked to help. There were 4 rows of bread, 5 slices each (that’s what fit on motel desks – yes we cleaned them first). Two rows plain, one row mustard, one row mayo. Lettuce here, lunchmeats there, peanut butter here, jelly there. Close, cut, wrap, repeat. Sandwiches were re-packed into the bag the bread came in, tuna in its own bag because my brothers thought it smelled gross. The cooler was then filled with ice then sandwiches and soda were nestled in for the journey.

I crave them still and can clearly taste them in my mind. Sun beating down from outside, AC inside, something strange on the radio, roads taking us through farmland, coastline and cities alike and me crawling into the back to retrieve everyone’s sandwich orders from the cooler. The crinkle of chilled plastic wrap, the light scent of good old yellow mustard, the coolness of the bread and its contents, all slightly yet perfectly compressed for maximum enjoyment, all made with love. Perfect"

Here’s Judi's favorite from those trips and a few slightly updated variations for today.

The Original Road-Trip Bologna and Cheese Sandwiches

Makes 5

  • 10 slices White bread (Wonder or Pepperidge Farm, this is a memory: do not judge)
  • 10 slices American cheese, from the deli counter, not that wrapped stuff
  • 10 slices All-beef bologna
  • 5 leaves Iceberg lettuce, rinsed and crisped overnight in an ice bucket, patted dry
  • Yellow mustard, optional

1. Lay out two rows of 5 bread slices each on clean surface.

2. Place 2 slices cheese on each slice of bread on the bottom row, followed by 2 slices of bologna then lettuce.

3. Spread yellow mustard, if desired, on upper row of bread slices. Squeezing smiley faces from the bottle onto bread is also acceptable.

4. Place upper row of bread slices (mustard side in) on top of bottom row. Slice, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill until ready to eat.

Updated Variations

Although the sandwich above is perfect to me as it is, here are what I would imagine could rate as current, fancier cousins.


Sourdough or soft multigrain for white bread

Munster, Provolone or Brie in place of American cheese

Pâté, Serrano ham or prosciutto instead of bologna

Arugula, watercress or romaine instead of Iceberg

Dijon, spicy mustard, grainy mustard, sliced tomato, onion confit, cornichons and capers would dress all of these nicely.

© 2010 Judi Orlick